Saturday, January 16, 2010

LP top bet wants No. 1 slot in ballot listing

By Marie A. Surbano

Original Story:

He wants to be the first name listed in the official Commission on Elections’ ballot, so he wants the Comelec to disqualify a presidential candidate
to scratch out from the list of presidential candidates, Vetallano Acosta, the standard bearer of the Kulusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), since going by alphabetical order, Aquino slides down to number two in the ballot listing of the presidential bets.

Liberal party presidential bet Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino yesterday asked the Comelec to invalidate the candidacy of Acosta on the grounds of grounds of “misrepresentations.”

In a petition lodged with the Comelec, Aquino, through his lawyer, Sixto Brillantes, claimed that Acosta’s presidential bid not only aims to dislodge his client from the number 1 slot in the ballots to be printed but also to create confusion among the voters.

“It has a direct effect on the automation law and voting. The listing of candidates is alphabetical. Without Acosta, Aquino would be number one in the list of presidential candidates in the ballot. Therefore, if Acosta gets in -- and he is not even known to the voters, he becomes number one in the list and Nonoy goes on second,” Brillantes told reporters.

He is also convinced that this is another plot by their rivals in the coming May 2010 presidential elections, saying “to us, there is a very sinister scheme on the part of some people, especially some KBL personalities to insert the name of Acosta to dislodge Aquino as the number one presidential candidate in the listing and official ballots as required by law.”

Brillantes further said that he believes the KBL is not the real mastermind in this scheme and is only being used by some camps that may benefit from this.

“We believe, I personally believe there is somebody or some persons behind this. KBL is being used. KBL may not be the mastermind of this scheme,” Aquino’s counsel said.

When asked who is their suspect, Brillantes declined to give names but said “it has to be the presidentiables who are involved.”

At the same time, Brillantes pointed that Acosta who filed his certificate of candidacy last Nov. 20 stated in his application form that he is running as an independent candidate and not as the official candidate of KBL.

But KBL said it filed a certificate of nomination for Acosta last Dec. 1 but when they checked the records of the Comelec there was no certificate of nomination.

Moreover, Brillantes said that Acosta never attended the hearings of the Comelec in particular the hearing for his motion for reconsideration after the poll body disqualified him in its Dec. 15 ruling.

“It is a very bad omen to allow this Acosta to run for president despite the fact that even the Comelec has not seen this Acosta except his picture in his certificate of candidacy. He is a nuisance candidate,” he noted.

“Apparently there were misrepresentations as far as Mr. Acosta is concerned,” Brillantes said.

Brillantes also questioned the ruling of the Commission against Acosta after all of the members of the en banc voted in favor of the Acosta candidacy while another presidential aspirant Nicanor Perlas whose candidacy was reconsidered by the poll body got a 5 to 2 vote.

“This is a strange Comelec vote. It was 7-0 in favor of Acosta while Perlas, who has come out on TV and spends for press conferences got a 5 to 2 vote, the election lawyer stressed.

Last Thursday, the Comelec en banc qualified both Acosta and Perlas for the presidential race this coming May after they have shown proof of having the capability to wage a nationwide campaign.

Meanwhile, two Senate hopefuls—a retired police general and an 80s singer --have gone to court to question before the Supreme Court (SC) the decision of the Comelec disqualifying them from the senatorial race in automated polls this May.

In a petition, Romeo Maganto and Anthony Castelo asked the SC to nullify Resolution No. 8713 issued by Comelec last month and allow their names to be included in the ballots for the polls on May 10.

The two challenged the findings of the poll body that they lack capability to wage a nation-wide campaign since they both registered as independent candidates -- even if they were later on adopted by Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) party. Benjamin B. Pulta

Original Story:

Noynoy’s attack on High Court ‘irresponsible...'

Saturday, 16 January 2010 00:00

Original Story:

MALACAÑANG described on Friday as “irresponsible and dangerous” the statement of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd that if he became president, he would not recognize the next chief justice appointed by President Gloria Arroyo.

Presidential political adviser Prospero Pichay said Aquino’s statement revealed his “true character and weakness” because a member of the Senate should not attack the judiciary, a co-equal branch of government.

“You have to respect a co-equal branch of government. You don’t threaten it!” he said in a press briefing in Malacañang. He said that Aquino’s “very big blunder” would make him a dangerous president.

“Even Marcos did not threaten the judiciary,” Pichay said, referring to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Aquino said: “If elected president, I will not recognize a chief justice appointed by the outgoing President, contrary to the constitutional ban on appointments during the wee hours of her presidency, and contrary to propriety and delicadeza and long standing precedence of prohibition against appointments two months before the outgoing President’s term expires.”

“Let me forewarn any member of the Supreme Court who shall accept to be chief justice by appointment of the outgoing President, that not only shall he not be recognized, but he risks even his presence in the Court as an associate member,” Aquino added.

Aquino, the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, said that it is the next president who should appoint the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno who will retire on May 17, 2010.

Pichay said Aquino was not only arrogant but also ignorant in declaring that he would not recognize the appointee of Mrs. Arroyo as chief justice.

“If you combine arrogance with ignorance, it is very, very dangerous,” he said.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera urged Aquino to respect the constitutional power vested on the President to appoint the next chief justice of the Supreme Court even as she stressed that she respects the senator’s opinion.

Devanadera, a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), said that the JBC is not covered by any ban, contrary to the opinion of some critics of the administration, including Aquino.

“It [nomination to the judiciary] is a mandate of the JBC. There were no instances that the process started after the vacancy occurs,” the Justice secretary pointed out.

She cited the opinion of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that the JBC nomination is not actually a requirement when it comes to the appointment of the chief justice. On the other hand, former Senate President Franklin Drilon maintained that the President is prohibited by the Constitution from appointing a new chief justice within two months before an election up to the end of his term.

“It’s not an issue of PGMA [President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] making the appointment, it’s an issue of completing the court especially so if the person to be chosen as chief justice is already a member of the court,” Devanadera said.

Speaker Prospero Nograles echoed Pichay’s description of Aquino’s threat as dangerous, and uncalled for in a leader. “It is tantamount to a call not to obey the High Court, the final arbiter that dispenses justice in the country,” he said.

“The final arbiter in any conflict or issue is still the Supreme Court itself. The Chief executive only implements. This will cause chaos when the chief executive refuses to recognize a co-equal body,” Nograles said, while adding that Aquino’s threat was tantamount to a call to disobey the High Court.

Aquino, however, stood pat on his stand that President Arroyo should not appoint the next chief justice. He recalled that the President’s father, former President Diosdado Macapagal, refused to honor a midnight appointment for a new Central Bank governor issued by outgoing President Carlos P. Garcia “because it violated the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.”

“This is what happens if the children do not emulate the example of proper conduct set by their parents,” he said.

Earlier this week, Enrile said the President could legally appoint Puno’s successor and that the appointee need not undergo review by the Judicial and Bar Council if the next chief justice comes from the ranks of the sitting justices.

With Report From Jomar Canlas

Original Story:

Gibo ratings to surge in March, predicts Palace

Saturday, 16 January 2010 00:00

Original Story:

FORMER Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro might be trailing three other presidential hopefuls in surveys but his candidacy will surge starting in March, a Malacañang official said on Friday.

Secretary Prospero Pichay, the presidential political adviser, said that a candidate must peak on the day of the elections, “not today.”

“Guys who peak on election day will win. If they peak now, the tendency is to go down so we’re just pacing our ratings. We don’t want to peak now,” he said.

Pichay said they expect Teodoro’s rating to surge to 25 percent to 30 percent in March. Teodoro, the presidential candidate of Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), has had single-digit rating in most of surveys on presidential candidates.

Pichay predicted that the 25 percent to 30 percent rating of Teodoro would be boosted by the “huge administration machinery.” He pointed out that Lakas-Kampi CMD has around 95 percent party support all over the country.

“With the built-in support from his party machinery, Teodoro will surely capture the presidency,” he added. He cited the disunity among the opposition as an added advantage of the administration party.

“In 2007, they were united but now they are disunited. We have strengthened our party while they quarrel among themselves. In 50 percent of provinces, our local candidates have no opposition,” he said.

In a related development, Teodoro vowed to reduce poverty by working to sustain a globally competitive economy that will continue to grow. “Our strategy is to sustain gross domestic product at 7 percent to 8 percent within the context of globalization. To do this, we have to expand foreign trade and investments,” Teodoro said.

He added that besides improving the campaign against red tape and corruption, a long-term plan for new infrastructure to connect the country’s islands is needed for sustained growth.

He said his government would focus on putting up more physical infrastructures like roads and bridges to link islands, flyovers and underpasses to accommodate the growing population.

Teodoro said that given the protracted stand-off at the World Trade Organization, the Philippines is better off if it will operate through regionally expanding trade through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) FTA (free trade agreement).

Asean has FTAs with China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and India to expand trade and investments. He also said the Philippines will exploit its agreements with Japan.

Angelo S. Samonte And Jefferson Antiporda

Original Story:

Opinion: Loren on borrowing binges

Written by Dean de la Paz / Through the Looking Glass
Thursday, 14 January 2010 21:00

Original Story:

Sen. Loren Legarda’s reservations on resurgent debts are timely. There is something seriously warped when the first news of the year involves a perpetuation of one of our oldest curses. Not yet a full week into the year that took forever to come since Gloria Arroyo seized the presidency and then declared a fiscal crisis in 2004, and even longer from the time she escalated the value-added tax to allow aggressive state spending, her finance managers have very quickly sunk us into an incremental $1.5 billion in newly minted debt.

Over a billion in euro bonds are to follow. And after that, Japanese private placements. “Who benefits from these?” Legarda asks.

Conceivably 2010 is the last chapter in Arroyo’s incumbency, despite immortal debilitating debts. The year 2010 was also yearned to be the long-coming endgame to one of the most painful episodes in our economy. Technically, Arroyo has less than six months before that dawn many wish would come quicker than the creeping pace that constitutionality insists we endure.

Never mind that we blindside ourselves to a looming Armageddon in a remote congressional district familiar to those dopey on dangerous drugs and dependent on numbers games. Never mind that the elections may not be the last syllable in this political curse. And never mind the ominous apocalypse for institutions once revered but now only reminisced in memoriam.

Political volatility intensifies risks and, consequently, the cost of borrowings, compelling debt renegotiations posthaste before uncertainty escalates. Unfortunately, Arroyo’s policy of unbridled indebtedness is quickly demanding retributions. Already the national debt rockets beyond P4.23 trillion.

On December 23, 2009, over P1.3 billion in bonds with rates as high as 14.9 percent matured. Between February 3 and March 2, 2010, over P2.5 billion more bonds are scheduled for redemption, with rates ballooning from 14.62 percent to 14.75 percent. These bonds, in the high fourteens, will continue to mature until September 2010. Outstanding Arroyo-issued 10-year bonds are scheduled for maturity from December 2010 to January 2011 through October 2011. These bear the highest rates for 10-year indebtedness ranging from 16.5 percent to over 17.5 percent.

Seriously alarmed following official declarations of more aggressive borrowings as Arroyo sings her swan song, Legarda noted “recent surveys indicate more Filipinos rated themselves poor and hungry than ever before, indicating that government claims of success in fighting poverty are grossly exaggerated.” More than the exaggerations and hyperbole, the hunger statistics now count 4 million against prospects where taxes are exponentially increased, greater bureaucratic fees are levied and humongous debt is resorted to by a government claiming dubious successes in poverty alleviation.

Legarda asks, “With annual tax collection always falling far short of required expenditures, the government resorts to borrowings from abroad to make ends meet. But who really benefits from the borrowing spree?”

Legarda’s question is profoundly pointed. The answers virtually present themselves. Laws demand a respite from initiating public-works projects within a campaign period. If infrastructure spending is effectively on hold, who benefits from Arroyo’s unmitigated borrowing spree and this vicious recycling of indebtedness?

With the incremental billions in freshly minted debt and less than a year to go in a period characterized by desperate political spending to boost the fledgling candidacies of single-digit-rated bets, the answers seem obvious.

The desperation for incremental funding is proverbial and familiar. In 2004 Arroyo demanded both votes and funds be generated by her Cabinet. The year 2010 is far more critical as the fiscal situation has deteriorated and the public’s yearning for democratic normalcy and criminal accountability denies the perpetuation of the lying, stealing and cheating governance model nurtured by excessive debt and taxes.

Legarda’s focus on who benefits from borrowing sprees belies the reality of risks, rates and returns, and the high price paid for unproductive indebtedness.

Demand for Philippine papers is a function of returns and risks. Desperation increases risks. Higher risks demand higher rates, and higher rates mean higher returns for debt paper purchasers. Junk bond rates attract funders, depending on earnings options prevalent in markets purchasing these papers. Given global deleveraging and the low rate regime in the United States and Europe occasioned by their stimulus programs, the relatively high-coupon debt offered by the Philippines turns temptingly attractive.

The foregoing is academic. One beneficiary of high-cost debt is the bond holder at maturity. But on the flip side of Legarda’s query, the question of victims who pay with blood for Arroyo’s borrowing spree compels a riposte.

Stand before a mirror and reflect. The answer should no longer surprise us.

Original Story:

Opinion: Teodoro’s plans

Written by Marvin A. Tort / Sway
Thursday, 14 January 2010 20:57

Original Story:

Presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro, a former secretary of national defense, is proposing a national development plan that includes interconnecting the country’s main islands through a modern network of bridges or tunnels. Tunnels or bridges can be built initially to link Bohol and Cebu, as well as areas of Southern Leyte, he says.

“We are still trapped in the time of Roros [roll-on, roll-off ferries]. It is time we seriously consider linking the country through bridges and tunnels between the islands…. Hong Kong has it. Malaysia has it. Why should not the Philippines?” Teodoro was quoted as saying in a recent news report.

He reportedly envisions building a modern national road infrastructure and communications network to hasten economic development and strengthen government efforts to fight rural and urban poverty. At the same time, he wants more funds for local governments for disaster control and management.

And this can be done, he says, by asking Congress to amend the law to allow local governments to utilize more than 5 percent of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for that purpose. The 5-percent limit set by law, he claims, is inadequate for effective disaster response and control by local governments.

Gilbert Teodoro is young, energetic and bright—qualities that can serve him well if and when elected president of the Republic. But other than having served in the Cabinet as defense chief, he has very little executive experience. Not as the CEO of a corporation, nor as governor, nor mayor, nor even barangay captain.

Having served as congressman of his legislative district in Tarlac province for several terms makes him a fairly experienced lawmaker, but not an administrator. And this, in my opinion, is the chink in his armor. In fact, it is highly debatable whether he performed effectively as head of the National Disaster Coordinating Council during typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng last quarter.

This executive inexperience is betrayed by Teodoro’s own recent suggestion of using tunnels and bridges as opposed to ferries, primarily because of the spate of nautical mishaps in recent months, and removing the present limitations on the use of IRA funds for disaster response and management.

To begin with, local governments are lucky if they actually get their IRAs on time. IRAs are the local governments’ rightful share in national taxes. In many cases, sitting administrations have been accused of delaying the release of IRAs, as well as pork barrels of lawmakers, either for simply lacking money or to irritate officials belonging to the opposition. And Teodoro would have realized this had he been at the receiving end of IRAs.

Even assuming that Teodoro, as president after May 2010, can convince the new Congress to remove the 5-percent limit on IRAs dedicated for disaster response and management, he still needs to urgently address the fundamental problem of lack of funds. And considering the government’s present fiscal state, this is going to be a very big problem for the next administration.

It is easy enough to make recommendations as to how local governments can make use of their money from national coffers, but perhaps one should first consider how to make such money actually available and accessible to them, if and when they need it.

Professors from the University of the Philippines School of Economics are actually suggesting the imposition of a national real- property tax or RPT to piggyback on local real-estate taxes, and whatever is collected through this tax can be used to augment the IRA. Had Teodoro suggested earmarking 5 percent of the RPT for disaster response, as he detailed how he would convince Congress and the people to accept the RPT proposal, then he would have made a more effective suggestion.

As for tunnels and bridges to connect the islands, that’s very old hat. The San Juanico Bridge is proof enough that the idea has been considered even decades ago. But the ferry system was deemed a more practical solution to date because it was easier to implement, and passes on to private enterprise the burden of providing for the service.

Had Teodoro taken up engineering rather than law, he could have also realized the difficulty of implementing his suggestion. Moreover, as a motorist he must have realized how the Department of Public Works and Highways has so far mismanaged the maintenance of public highways as well as of public tunnels and bridges. Worse, it remains unclear whether or not the road tax had actually fallen prey to the designs of corrupt and unscrupulous individuals.

Again, it is easy to suggest a project without detailing how you intend to pay for it. Given the present state of the economy and government finances, are Teodoro’s public-works suggestions actually feasible? Or maybe he plans to have such bridges and tunnels built by the private sector under build-operate-transfer arrangements?

One can only hope such a grand plan does not have anything to do with the fact that his uncle’s company, San Miguel Corp., is planning to put more money in infrastructure and is actually already part of the consortium building the expressway that will extend from Tarlac to La Union.

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Original Story:

Friday, January 15, 2010

On Aquino’s threat not to recognize new CJ: "Noynoy ignorant, arrogant"—Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz,
Charlie V. Manalo and
Gerry Baldo

Original Story:

Ignorance plus arrogance makes for a dangerous president.

Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s threat not to recognize any chief justice (CJ) appointed by President Arroyo and his pledge to fire any associate justice who will recognize the new CJ not appointed by him has succeeded in kicking up a storm of protests, with Malacañang yesterday saying Aquino has all the makings of a “dangerous” President if he wins Malacañang in 2010 after showing himself up to be “arrogant” and “ignorant” by issuing such threats to the high court.

Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Prospero

Pichay said Aquino’s warning to the hight court justices is “irresponsible and dangerous” because it does show that he does not have any high regard for the judiciary, a co-equal branch of government.

“If you combine arrogance with ignorance, it is very, very dangerous,” Pichay said during a briefing in Malacañang. You have to respect a co-equal branch of government, you don’t threaten it.”

In a statement released to media, Aquino said, “if elected President, I will not recognize a Chief Justice appointed by the outgoing President, contrary to the constitutional ban on appointments during the wee hours of her presidency, and contrary to propriety and delicadeza and long standing precedence of prohibition against appointments two months before the outgoing President’s term expires.

“Let me forewarn any member of the Supreme Court, who shall accept to be Chief Justice by appointment of the outgoing President, that not only shall he not be recognized, but he risks even his presence in the Court as an associate member,” said Aquino of the Liberal Party, the current front-runner in the presidential surveys.

Going by Aquino’s statement, Pichay pointed to this as a testament of his combined “arrogance” and “ignorance” that certainly does not speak well of the kind of leadership Aquino would be demonstrating if he gets to sit in Malacañang.

“I think this (Aquino’s remarks) is really an irresponsible and dangerous statement. I think as a presidential candidate you have to respect the President’s dispensation. He is not yet the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” Pichay stated in a a press conference yesterday.

“It is to me irresponsible because you have to respect another branch of government. Our Constitution has three branches of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary. You do not threaten a co-equal branch of government by telling them that you are not going to recognize the recommendee of the President. That is already threatening another branch of government. That is indeed the highest form of irresponsibility because if you become the President, you have to respect the judiciary. If you can threaten the judiciary then you will not be able to come up with the dream of every Filipino to have justice in our country,” he added.

Pichay implied that this latest remark of Aquino and his camp was a huge blunder that might just incite a potential slump from the comfortable position he is currently enjoying in the surveys.

“I think it is really a big blunder because people will start realizing he will become a dangerous president. Nobody has threatened the Supreme Court, not even the late PresidentMarcos. No one should threaten the Supreme Court. I believe it is a big blunder on the part of Sen. Noynoy Aquino and I guess he has to change his legal advisers because even his legal adviser don’t know what they are talking about,” Pichay said.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, for his part, expressed serious doubts over the intentions of Aquino’s legal advisers in giving him advice, being uncertain whether they are using him to promote their vested interests.

Aquino’s present legal advisers are reportedly composed of the lawyers that come from the FIRM.

Remonde in a prepared statement branded Aquino as the “president-in-waiting” who ironically disrespects the Constitution established under his own late mother’s administration. “I am not a lawyer myself, much like the presumed President-in-waiting, but, based on his quotes Friday, clearly he is not getting sound advice on the matter. I would advice his advisers, and their President-in-waiting himself, that the sound thing to do on the matter is to read the provision in the 1987 Constitution...The soundness of these provisions have been debated at length by Law Deans and legal experts, and I should leave that matter to them,” Remonde said in his statement.

“Let me just note, however, that the Judiciary Act of 1948 was recently cited to define the role of a so-called most senior justice in the Court, presumably to suit a senatorial aspirant’s Chief-Justice-In-Waiting. That concept in the Judiciary Act of 1948, I’m afraid, is superseded by the 1987 Constitution, specifically on the provision on filling vacancies in the high court. Ironic and sad, that the Cory Constitution is being savaged by her own party, now led by her own son,”he added.

Speaker Prospero Nograles weighed in and said Aquino should not undermine the SC, no matter who its members are. “That’s a dangerous statement (Aquino made).The final legal arbiter in any legal conflict or issue is still the Supreme Court itself, the Chief Executive only implements. This will cause chaos when the Chief Executive refuses to recognize a co-equal body,” said Nograles.

Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada, LP spokesman, in a bid at damage control, claimed there was nothing wrong qith Aquino’s statement.

“He was just stating a fact that the Constitution should be followed and that there should be no midnight appointments. The appointment of a Chief Justice in waiting is a midnight appointment since Chief Justice Puno has not yet retired from the SC,” Tañada said yesterday. “There is no vacancy in the position of Chief Justice. Senator Noynoy recognizes that the SC has its processes once a Chief Justice retires — who among the Associate Justices will be Acting Chief Justice until one is appointed. Sen. Noynoy respects this process and this should be followed,” he added.

The LP spokesman, however, did not touch on the clear warning and vow of Aquino not to recognize the CJ and to fire whover accepts the appointment from Arroyo.

Aquino’s statement immediately drew adverse reaction from members of the House of Representatives, most of them legal luminaries.

“That is a slap on the Supreme Court as institution!” committee on justice chairman, Rep. Mat Defensor told the Tribune in a telephone interview. “The issue whether the President can appoint the next chief justice is for the Supreme Court to decide.”

Defensor pointed out that any “President, in this case, Aquino as he already is assuming he is winning, refusing to recognize a co-equal body such as the Supreme Court, will trigger a constitutional crisis. Not only will that trigger a constitutional crisis but the President who refuses to recognize the Supreme Court also could be liable for culpable violation of the Constitution!” Defensor said.

In another telephone interview, Cavite Rep. Juan Crispin Remulla said Aquino’s statement smacks of arrogance and ignorance.

“Not only is his statement as if he had already won the presidency presumptuous, but arrogant as well,” said Remulla. “A person of proper stature will not issue that kind of statement.”

Remulla said the statement of the LP presidential bet is tantamount to preempting the legally-accepted processes of the government. “There is utter lack of intellectual discipline. He should have consulted some legal experts before coming up with that statement. That is what I call intellectual indolence,” Remulla said.

“Better still, he should go to a law school first.” Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga also too

k a dig at Aquino saying the LP standard bearer cannot question the validity or legality of the appointment of the next chief justice as that is something for the SC to decide.

Other administration lawmakers also slammed Aquino for his threat not to recognize a new SC CJ named by Arroyo if he is elected president, warning that such move would be in gross violation of the Constitution.

“The Arroyo-appointed SC chief is an exercise of the President’s constitutional mandate; to go against the mandate of GMA is to go against the Constitution,” said Marikina Rep. Marcelino Teodoro.

Teodoro described Aquino’s statement as irresponsible as it could cast doubt on the integrity of the next Chief Justice, especially if he is an Arroyo appointee.

At the same time, Defensor also argued that a constitutional crisis will likely occur if the appointment of the next Chief Justice is deferred until the next president has taken office as the JBC cannot convene and recommend the shortlist for the next Chief Justice since there will only be three active JBC members by July of 2010.

Defensor said that if the present JBC will allow the next president to choose the next Chief Justice, there will be a big legal problem since JBC will not be functioning by July and the 90-day period for the President to choose the next Chief Justice shall lapse and expire.

Defensor said that if they will allow the next president to make the appointment, there will only be three active members of the JBC namely: retired SC Justice Regino Hermosisima, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) representative, lawyer J. Conrado Castro and private sector representative Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman.

Defensor said that his term ends on June 30, 2010 and as a result there will be no representative in the JBC for the House of Representatives.

Defensor added that Puno will be retired by the time the next president comes in and the next Department of Justice Secretary will be very new in office to sit in the JBC.

In addition, JBC member and representative from the academe Dean Amado Dimayuga will be retired by July 9, 2010.

“There will only be three JBC members comes next administration (July 2010). How can the JBC function with its three members?”, Defensor said. He argued that the Senate and the House will open its session on mid-July and the JBC representative, due to Committee reorganizations, will be distributed and assigned only by late July 2010.

As such, Defensor stressed that it will be violative of the 1987 Constitution not to appoint the next Chief Justice within the 90-day period.

Original Story:

Reject pro-birth control pols in 2010 — CBCP


Original Story:

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called on Filipinos not to vote for candidates supporting the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

In its “Catechism on Family and Life for the 2010 Elections,” the bishops reiterated the Church’s position on life and family issues.

The bishops’ group has consistently opposed population control programs and forbids artificial birth control.

“…it would not be morally permissible to vote for candidates who support anti-family policies, including reproductive health, or any other moral evil such as abortion, divorce, assisted suicide and euthanasia,” part of the 20-page guidelines read.

“Otherwise one becomes an accomplice to the moral evil in question,” it added.

Presidential survey frontrunner Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino of the Liberal Party has been very vocal in his support to population control.

He said legislation on RH bill can help provide the sex education that present and future generations’ need, in answer to the misinformation they may get from the Internet and other media.

Aside from Aquino, his cousin and administration bet, Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, is also supportive of the measure which seeks to promote artificial family planning.

Of the presidential candidates, Sen. Manuel Villar of Nacionalista Party, John Carlos (JC) de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran and Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva of Bangon

Pilipinas are only those who are totally against the bill.

Sen. Richard Gordon and Nicanor Perlas expressed reservations on some provisions of the controversial measure which, according to the proponents, would address the issue of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition, unemployment and poverty.

Villar and a number of anti-RH bill lawmakers from the Senate and Congress recently had a closed-door meeting with CBCP officials led by its president Bishop Nereo Odchimar at the CBCP office in Manila.

Aside from promoting artificial family planning, RH bill will also include sex education for students and advice on artificial contraception, which the church considers as immoral.

Last Nov. 30 the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life’s (ECFL) directors and lay coordinators met in Antipolo City and formulated the guidelines to help voters select the right candidates who will lead the country.

He said a candidate’s position on RH bill, which the church had tried to block, mirrors his or her stand on life and family.

“… and then from there, we can deduce their positions on other issues,” Castro said.

But Castro clarified the catechism for the 2010 polls was made only to serve as a guide for the faithful and a mandatory course of action.

When casting their votes, Filipinos, he said, must consider social interest over self interest, and decide guided by moral principles.

The CBCP declared that it will not endorse any candidate but will issue a guidelines in order to help voters in choosing the appropriate leaders of this country. Marie Surbano

Original Story:

3 Senate bets continue legacy of their fathers

January 15, 2010, 4:56pm

Original Story:

CEBU CITY (PNA) – Three Nacionalista Party (NP) senatorial bets who are political neophytes are bent on continuing the legacy of their politician fathers.

However, Gwen Pimentel, Susan “Toots” Ople and Ramon “Monmon” Mitra have different advocacies.

They witnessed the covenant-signing that sealed that political alliance of the NP and the local Alayon Party of Rep. Eduardo Gullas (Cebu Province, 1st district) at the University of the Visayas gym Monday.

Pimentel, the eldest child of Senate Minority Leader Aquino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., vowed to introduce amendments to the Local Government Code of 1991 to maximize the economic advancement and legislative power of cities, towns and barangays.

The elder Pimentel was the chief architect of the Local Government Code that gives more authority to local governments units (LGUs) through decentralization.

Pimentel, a lawyer and her father’s chief of staff in the Senate, plans to equalize the internal revenue allotment share of LGUs, from the present 60-40 percentage share to 50-50.

She said elected barangay officials should also be made regular workers so they can avail themselves of benefits from government agencies, such the Government Service Insurance System and the Home Development Mutual Fund.

Original Story:

Palace allies slam Noynoy over Chief Justice stance

January 15, 2010, 5:45pm

Original Story:

Pro-administration officials denounced Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Senator Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III on Friday for threatening that he will not recognize a new Supreme Court Chief Justice named by President Arroyo if he is elected president, warning that such move would be in gross violation of the Constitution.

“The PGMA-appointed SC chief is an exercise of the President’s constitutional mandate; to go against the mandate of PGMA is to go against the Constitution,” said Marikina City Rep. Marcelino Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Teodoro described Aquino’s statement as irresponsible as it could cast doubt on the integrity of the next Chief Justice, especially if he is an Arroyo appointee.

“Besides, the appointment has not been executed and to make a preemptive statement would be unfair for the incoming SC chief with respect to his qualifications or judicial experience,” Teodoro pointed out.

“We should look beyond politicking and grandstanding but focus on the smooth transition and efficiency of the Philippine judicial system,” he added.

Aquino should apologize to the Supreme Court for his “irresponsible and dangerous” statement, said Presidential Political Adviser Prospero Pichay Jr.

Pichay, in a news conference in the Palace, said Aquino was “arrogant” to presume he would win the elections this May, adding his threat to the Supreme Court “was the highest form of irresponsibility.”

On the other hand, House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Simeon Datumanong said he respects Aquino’s opinion that the outgoing President is barred from making any appointment during the wee hours of her presidency as it runs against the constitutional ban.

But Datumanong said Aquino must be warned that the next President, whoever he is, is bound to recognize an Arroyo-appointed Chief Justice.

Pichay also assailed Aquino’s ignorance of the Constitution that allowed President Arroyo to appoint a new Chief Justice even in the remainder of her term.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the groups attacking the President’s legality to appoint the new Chief Justice are actually “denigrating” the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court.

Remonde, speaking to reporters in the Palace, said the Supreme Court, although most of magistrates are appointees of President Arroyo, has proven its independence through its past decisions unfavorable to the government.

Meanwhile, Speaker Prospero Nograles warned presidential candidates against rejecting the Chief Justice appointee of President Arroyo, saying that non-recognition of the next Supreme Court head could lead to chaos in the country.

Nograles said Aquino should be reminded that the High Court is a co-equal body of the executive department.

Original Story:

Teodoro sees 7-8% growth in GDP

January 15, 2010, 7:51pm

Original Story:

Lakas-Kampi CMD presidential standard bearer Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. is looking forward a robust seven to eight percent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to make the country globally competitive in the next six years.

The 45-year-old Teodoro, considered the youngest among the presidential aspirants, also vowed to prioritize rebuilding the country’s economy in his first months in office, in the event that he gets elected, instead of jet-setting to other countries to pursue diplomatic and trade relations.

In avoiding expensive foreign trips, Teodoro instead emphasized the need to tap the expertise of the country’s embassy officials in strengthening economic relations with the ally nations.

"To reduce, our strategy is to sustain GDP growth at 7-8 percent within the context of globalization. To do this, we have to expand foreign trade and investments," Teodoro said.

Aside from building up government agencies to eliminate red tape and corruption, sustained growth likewise requires a long-term plan for new infrastructure to connect the country's islands, Teodoro explained.

Although they will entail huge amount of budget, Teodoro said that vital infrastructures like long bridges and underwater tunnels are the country’s answer to the accident prone roll on, roll off (RO-RO) ferry system using old, dilapidated ships.

"First, we must focus and build up our domestic capability in terms of infrastructure and institutions.We should be thinking of putting up more physical infrastructures of more roads, more bridges to link islands, more flyovers and underpasses that will be sufficient to accommodate the growing population of the next 50 years," he said.

"Here the premise is that we have the blueprint and national consensus behind it. Second, we must seek out and optimize opportunities in our existing multilateral and bilateral trade and investment regimes," Teodoro said.

Original Story:

Villar to next president: Work hard from Day 1

January 15, 2010, 4:46pm

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Nacionalista President and standard bearer Senator Manny Villar Friday reiterated that the next president should possess strong leadership and management skills to make the country globally competitive.

At the same time, he maintained that the next president who will be elected on May 10 will have to work hard from day one he assumed office and must succeed in the first year of his assumption in view of the tremendous problems facing the nation.

Failure, he said, to succeed in addressing the pressing issues in the first year in the office will not be a good signal for the nation’s future.

“The country's next president should act as chief executive from day one and that there is no room for an on-the-job training while performing the duties of the highest office of the land, Villar said.

“The country is already facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. The budget deficit is increasing and the number of Filipinos going hungry is now in a historic high. The next president should be president from day one,” Villar said .

“The successor to the presidency would be inheriting a rather big fiscal headache. He should know what to do the very minute he sits in office,” he said.

Villar added, "our country is in a mess right now. The next president can't start his tenure by getting tutorials on how to run the government. We can't have a presidency on training wheels,” he said.

He said that just for the first 10 months of last year, the budget deficit had already breached P266.1 billion from P238 billion the month before, surpassing the target for the whole year, which is at P250 billion.

Original Story:

Admin upbeat in Teodoro

January 15, 2010, 5:26pm

Original Story:

The administration is still upbeat its standard bearer Gilbert Teodoro would "peak" on Election Day and beat his nine rivals in the race despite his dismal performance in recent opinion polls, a Palace official said Friday.

Presidential political adviser Prospero Pichay Jr. said Teodoro has increasing chances of victory due to a “disunited opposition” and the support of well-oiled political machinery by the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party.

The ruling party also plans to convince the undecided segment of the electorate to boost Teodoro's prospects in the May presidential polls, according to Pichay.

"You have to peak on the day of the elections. Others are peaking even now but the elections is still on May. I can see we will peak on May and the others will not be peaking on May," he told reporters in the Palace.

"If you peak as early as now, the tendency is for you to go down. We dont want to peak right now. We want to peak on the day of elections because that's the survey that matters," he said.

Pichay also welcomed the addition of two more presidential candidates to make the elections “more interesting” and let the electorate choose a deserving leader.

More presidential candidates would also augur well for the candidacy of Teodoro because the ruling party has "a built-in 25 percent support" as shown in past elections, Pichay said.

The ruling party, he added, has also fielded 95 percent of local posts in the upcoming elections that could help boost Teodoro's candidacy by the start of the campaign period this March.

“It will be a battle of TV ads, radio ads, newsprint ads and of course machinery. It will be an interesting elections especially so we are having the first automated polls in the country,” he said.

Pichay admitted that public awareness of Teodoro is low compared to his rivals who previously ran for national positions.

Original Story:

Erap ready to take on all debate comers


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Opposition standard bearer former President Joseph Estrada is more than ready, willing and able to take on all debate comers in any public forum anywhere in the country.

Estrada’s campaign manager former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda issued this statement to dispel talk that the former president was avoiding head-to-head encounters with other presidential candidates as allegedly shown by his absence at a recent forum sponsored by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

“To set the record straight, President Estrada has already received 21 invitations and has in fact accepted several of these which are scheduled for the next few weeks,” Maceda clarified.

“He was not at the Ayala Alabang forum because he never received an invitation, and had to beg off from the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation-sponsored forum because of a previous engagement,” he added.

The La Salle Alabang forum whose organizers, led by Vicky Cuisia, wife of the current Namfrel chairman, Jose “Joey” Cuisia, deliberately excluded Estrada from the forum.

The Cuisias are known supporters of Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

Maceda stressed that Estrada was an active participant in several of the earlier debates organized by various groups and organizations, including the ANC forum at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM); the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) at the UST; Isang Sagot by the GMA7 network; and another by the PPCRV at the Plaza Miranda in Manila.

“It would be physically impossible for President Estrada to accept all these invitations, but most assuredly he will be accepting many more subject of course to his availability,” Maceda explained. “The organizers must also understand that during the campaign season, a candidate must also set aside precious time to go around the country and meet with his allies, party leaders and volunteers in political meetings and conventions.”

Maceda revealed that Estrada has already accepted invitations to participate in the following fora: the Governance Forum sponsored by the Philippine Futuristic Society and the Lyceum of the Phils. on Jan. 20; Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Jan. 22; De La Salle forum, Jan. 29.

Original Story:

Binay laughs off rumors of Erap quitting race

January 14, 2010, 5:00pm

Original Story:

Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay has laughed off rumors that former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada is planning to withdraw from the presidential race, saying only a disqualification can stop the former chief executive from reclaiming the highest post in the land.

In an exclusive interview with the Manila Bulletin, Binay said their tandem’s standing on pre-election surveys and the triviality of the disqualification cases filed against Estrada are reasons enough for the former president to pursue his political fight.

“Even with the pendency of the disqualification cases against President Erap, he was in high spirits. He knew that it will not prosper, so whoever is floating these rumors are only threatened by President Erap’s winnability as a candidate. All of these are plain rumor mongering. President Erap is not withdrawing from the race,” Binay said.

Claiming the Estrada-Binay tandem is stronger than ever and the team to beat in the May elections, Binay confirmed rumors that they are being invited to be endorsed by the Liberal Party faction led by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza.

According to Binay’s spokesperson, Joey Salgado, the initiative of the LP-Atienza wing only confirms their claim that other parties believe in the formidability of the Estrada-Binay tandem, apart from the warm reception of the public in provincial sorties they do for their “Lakbay Pasasalamat.”

Original Story:

NPC staying neutral on Noynoy, Gibo

By Eva Visperas
The Philippine Star
Updated January 15, 2010
12:00 AM

Original Story:

ROSALES, Pangasinan , Philippines – Torn between two cousins who are eyeing the presidency, Pangasinan fifth district Rep. Mark Cojuangco, son of Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) founder and chairman emeritus Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, said the party would not support either one but would just stay neutral.

“They are both my cousins, we are neutral in this contest,” Cojuangco said, referring to his cousins Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, and former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro who is the administration party’s presidential bet.

He said the party stands firm in its earlier decision not to support any presidential candidate
in the May 2010 polls.

“We already supported our presidential contender, he backed out. So as far as we are concerned we’ve already done our duty to the country,” he said.

NPC had thrown its support behind Sen. Francis Escudero as its standard-bearer but he did not push through with his presidential ambition.

“Unfortunately our political fortunes were not with us for this election,” Cojuangco added.

However, he said his party is pinning its hopes on “a very viable vice presidential candidate in the person of Sen. Loren Legarda.”

“We are supporting her 100 percent,” he said.

Cojuangco also disclosed that the NPC has close to 80 congressional bets in 2010 in the entire country and there are about 32 incumbent congressmen, which number they hope to increase.

Original Story:

Ramos lectures bets at presidential forum

January 14, 2010, 5:00pm

Original Story:

Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Thursday lectured three presidential contenders – Senators Manny Villar and Richard Gordon and former defense secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. – on work ethics, simple lifestyle and maintaining a credible leadership as they vie for the country's top position on May 10 this year.

The 81-year-old Ramos threw the last set of questions to the three candidates from his audience seat during the Presidential Policy Forum hosted by the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center in Makati City.

Ramos, president from 1992 to 1998, was applauded by the audience when he raised his hand to be acknowledged for his questions.

Looking relaxed, the former Constabulary chief broke the serious atmosphere in the forum by reminding everyone that he is not a candidate for this year's election.

“I will have a big problem if I will win in the election,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

“If I win, I would not be allowed to come here in sport shirt and jacket...with no security and protocol,” he added.

Ramos commended the three candidates for their forthright answers and their comprehensiveness in dealing with the country's problems but expressed dismay that not all the presidential hopefuls showed up.

Ramos asked the three candidates about their lifestyle while serving as the country's president.

He also brought out the issue on political dynasty, citing the Constitution which prohibits the chief executive from appointing a relative within the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity to any government position.

Holding his signature unlighted cigar, Ramos also pointed out that a president should dedicate himself to working not only 24/7 or 24-hours a day, seven days a week, but also 25/8.

“It is about multi-tasking. You are like a juggler, juggling at least 10 hot potatoes and your feet are not on the ground as president,” he reminded them.

Teodoro, the administration bet, answered the lifestyle question by stressing that the country's leaders must live with “honor, dignity and modesty.”

On team building, Teodoro emphasized that it is a shared vision with shared burdens that deal with adequate tasking for all concerned.

On appointing relatives, Teodoro said the public should not only be guarding against relatives being given positions in the bureaucracy but those who use dummies to control a government agency for their selfish motives.

Gordon said it is important to tap the talents of every member of the team just like he did when he reconstructed the Subic Bay area following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1990 and when it was abandoned by the US military the following year.

Taking off from his campaign slogan “Sipag at Tiyaga” (hard work and patience), Villar said he has the training and experience to work more than 24/7 in pursuing the presidency.

“About simple living, look at my family... they are all living a simple life. I only have one wife,” he added, “we are not extravagant.”

Villar also reiterated that the next president should possess strong leadership and management skills to make the country globally competitive.

He maintained that the next president should work hard from Day One and must succeed in the first year of his assumption in view of the tremendous problems facing the nation. Failure to address the pressing issues in the first year will not be a good signal for the nation’s future, he said.

“The country's next president should act as chief executive from Day One. There is no room for an on-the-job training while performing the duties of the highest office of the land,” Villar said.

“The country is already facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. The budget deficit is increasing and the number of Filipinos going hungry is now in a historic high. The next president should be president from day one,” Villar said.

Liberal Party standard bearer and leading presidential candidate Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did not participate in the forum as he was reportedly out of town.

Gordon also said the Philippines can only be competitive by first eliminating graft and corruption which he said is a big hindrance to our prosperity. He said the education system should also be given priority to enhance productivity and global competitiveness.

Teodoro shared Gordon’s view saying that if elected, he will make sure to invest heavily on education to advance the skills and talents of Filipinos. He said if he wins, educational reform will be a top agenda.

On the Mindanao problem, the three candidates agreed that peace negotiations must be pursued at all costs, saying the government would not attract investments in the region if there is no peace and order.

Villar however said that to really address the Mindanao problem, the government should strike at the root of the problem, poverty.

Gordon said the Mindanao problem remains due to lack of effective governance to address the crisis.

While they agreed on pursuing peace efforts, Villar and Teodoro also wanted to strengthen the military as a guarantee for peace in the troubled region.

Teodoro also said people living in Mindanao should know how to live with each other to achieve peace.

Original Story:

"Ghost solon" shows up at House to get salary, perks


Original Story:

If “ghost employees” abound in some local government units, a “ghost congressman” also exists in the House of Representatives.

Congressional employees said the lawmaker, Negros Occidental Rep. Julio “Jules” Ledesma of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), was seen only twice during the 14th Congress — the first was during the State-of-the-Nation Address of President Arroyo on July 28, 2009, and the second was during the Christmas break when the lawmaker reportedly tried but failed to get his “bonuses and other allowances.”

With only nine session days left before the 15th Congress adjourns, Speaker Prospero Nograles, apparently fed up with habitual absenteeism of the lawmaker from the Visayas, reprimanded Ledesma and asked him to attend at least the last two session days before Congress adjourns sine die on Feb. 5 before he can claim his salaries.

“Congress was on a Christmas break and no employees of consequence were available,” the House leader said, adding that Ledesma would be able to get all perks and salaries due him.

“I just told him to please attend at least the last two sessions of the year so you can get all the papers, documents and salaries due you,” Nograles said.

He added since all House employees have returned for work after the Christmas holidays, Nograles “presumed that Ledesma got all the checks due him.”

It was not immediately known how much – if ever – was given to Ledesma who, as a House member, is also considered a government employee and is entitled to a “13th month pay” equivalent to his one-month salary of P35,000.

A source at the House committee on accounts, who asked not to be named, said the bonuses of congressmen vary, with some “getting as much as P500,000,” especially during “special occasions and when there are special projects.”

According to records, Ledesma is the country’s third richest congressman with a declared net worth of P427,529,000 in his 2008 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALn).

Ledesma was also seen at the NPC headquarters near Balete Drive in Quezon City with his wife, actress Assunta de Rossi when the party formally announced its support for Sen. Loren Legarda’s vice presidential bid, some of his partymates said.

Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo

Original Story:

Atienza endorses Estrada's presidential bid


Original Story:

Former Environment Secretary Jose “Lito” Atienza and his Liberal Party (LP) faction are endorsing former President Joseph Estrada’s candidacy in the May 10 elections.

“Secretary Atienza is adopting and endorsing President Estrada for the presidential elections,” Margaux Salcedo, Estrada’s spokesman told the Tribune in a telephone interview.

In simple ceremonies held at the Atienza-backed LP party convention, they endorsed Estrada at the AWU compound at Port Area in Manila.

According to Salcedo, Estrada has accepted the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)-LP Atienza wing coalition because the former president feels it is Atienza who will be able to carry out Estrada’s pro-poor program in Manila.

PMP spokesman lawyer Ralph Calinisan, in a statement, said “there is an urgent need to effect change in Manila. The residents of Manila deserve better governance.”

Also, in an attempt to clarify what really transpired before, Calinisan said, “Mayor Lim did not resign from the PMP. The PMP leadership removed him as president of the party.”

Estrada – as a testament of his forgiving nature - accepted Lim back to his fold even after the incumbent mayor of Manila was first to desert him in 2001, thinking that Lim would further the PMP’s pro-poor plans in Manila. The PMP and Estrada later on found that Lim had other “agenda.”

Lim battled it out with Estrada in the 1998 presidential race. In spite of such fact, Estrada subsequently appointed Lim as his Interior secretary.

Over the past couple of years, the PMP has received numerous reports of Lim’s transgressions with the poor while serving as Manila mayor. Calinisan noted that Lim totally forgot about the common people after he was elected into office.

Reports state, among others, that under Lim’s watch, housing projects in Baseco in Tondo and the housing project intended for teachers were discontinued. Also, hospital machines were ill-maintained and medicines were utterly lacking. Vendors pay stiff “fees” just to do business.

Calinisan further describes Lim’s pro-poor agenda as “wanting if not inexistent.”

“It is thus necessary to support a mayoralty candidate who has his priorities straight. Mayor Lito Atienza has proven many times over that he has what it takes to uplift the lives of the masses. We welcome Secretary Atienza’s bid to work with the PMP,” he added.

Atienza will run for mayor in Manila in this year’s election, a position he previously held for three consecutive terms — from 1998 to 2007.

He will be running against Lim and former Philippine National Police chief Avelino Razon Jr.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has allowed two presidential aspirants and four senatorial candidates the poll body earlier disqualified to run in the May 10 elections.

In a 26-page resolution, the Commission en banc reconsidered its earlier decision and allowed environmentalist Nicanor Perlas and Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) standard-bearer Vetallano Acosta to be in the roster of presidential candidates as they have proved their capabilities of waging a nationwide campaign.

This raised to 10 the number of presidential aspirants that made it to the Comelec’s final list of national candidates in the forthcoming automated elections.

For Perlas, the Comelec cited the candidate’s plan to finance a campaign via the Internet as well as his international stature as reasons for his application to be reconsidered.

“The filing of a certificate of candidacy (CoC) of a person with a distinguished track record in public service and has received numerous recognitions for his work both here and abroad cannot be said to have put the election process in mockery,” part of the resolution read.

“From the research made by (Perlas), Internet users in the country amount to almost 24 million and his strong, credible presence could be felt in the Internet through his numerous Web sites,” the resolution added.

Perlas, who personally heard the promulgation Thursday morning, welcomed the Comelec’s decision.

In approving Acosta’s application, the Comelec said his KBL party was earlier allowed to field candidates for other national positions for vice president and senators

“If the CoCs of KBL’s nominees for vice president and senators were given due course, there is no reason the commission should deny due course to Mr. Acosta’s CoC,” the poll body stressed.

“KBL is a political party duly registered with Comelec. (Acosta) alleged that KBL is ready and will wage and sustain a campaign using its nationwide organization and network of the party and its officers and campaign workers,” it added.

The KBL is fielding broadcaster Jay Sonza as the vice presidential tandem of Acosta together with their senatorial line-up composed of Shariff Albani, Alma Lood, Regalado Maambong, Maria Judea Millora, Imelda Papin and Hector Villanueva.

Acosta was not present during the promulgation of the resolution at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.

With the inclusion of Perlas and Acosta in the list, they now have to battle it out with the other candidates running for the highest position in the land.

They are: Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of Liberal Party, John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes (Ang Kapatiran Party), Estrada (Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino/United Opposition), Sen. Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan), Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. (Lakas-Kampi-CMD), Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas), Sen. Manuel Villar (Nacionalista Party) and Sen. Jamby Madrigal, who is running as independent.

The Comelec also included four more names to the senatorial list, with the approval of the applications of former Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim of the Liberal Party, former Cebu Gov. Lito Osmeña, KBL’s Nanette Espinosa and Bangon Pilipinas Party’s Adz Nikabulin.

Lim, Espinosa and Nikabulin all proved they are either guest candidates or nominated by Comelec-accredited political parties while Osmeña cited his previous track record of running for a national position when he ran for president in 1998 and for vice president in 1992.

There are now 62 senatorial bets running in the May 2010 elections from the 158 who filed their CoCs last year.

The number of vice presidential aspirants, meanwhile, remains at eight. They are PDP-Laban Party’s Jejomar Binay, Ang Kapatiran’s Dominador Chipeco Jr., Bagumbayan’s Bayani Fernando, Nationalist People’s Coalition Party’s Loren Legarda, Lakas-Kampi-CMD Party’s Eduardo Manzano, Liberal Party’s Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, KBL’s Jay Sonza and Bangon Pilipinas Party’s Perfecto Yasay.

Jason Faustino, Marie Surbano and PNA

Original Story:

Senator lauds SC decision on gay party-list group 'Ang Ladlad'

01/14/2010 | 12:59 AM

Original Story:

A woman legislator on Wednesday lauded the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) recognizing Ang Ladlad as a legitimate party list group which should be allowed to participate in the 2010 elections.

Senator Pilar Juliana “Pia" Cayetano, Senate Committee on Social Justice chairman, said the SC decision on Ang Ladlad guaranteed the rights of different social groups to representation.

Ang Ladlad defines its constituency as “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" persons.

“The reason used by the Commission on Elections to justify the disqualification of ‘Ang Ladlad’ is unconstitutional; it violates the principle of separation of Church and State," Cayetano said in a press statement.

She added Comelec has jurisdiction to approve or disapprove the accreditation of a party-list, but the poll body must based its ruling on legal principles and not on religious beliefs nor on its subjective view of what is moral and what is not.

Ang Ladlad had applied for Comelec accreditation as a party-list group, with the intent to participate in the May elections. But, in a controversial decision last November, the poll body rejected the group’s application on the grounds that it “tolerated immorality." [See: Comelec rejects party-list bid of gay group ‘on moral grounds’]

The SC on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), which directed Comelec to accredit Ang Ladlad among the party-list groups for this year’s election and include its name on the ballots. [See: SC to Comelec: Include gay group on ballot for May polls]

“May this decision serve as a lesson to Comelec, instead of disqualifying legitimate party list groups, they should be more wary of groups posing as marginalized representatives, but are actually adjuncts of powerful personalities and interest groups in the Arroyo regime," Cayetano said. – Amita O. Legaspi/JV, GMANews.TV

Original Story:

10-cornered fight in May

By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star
Updated January 15, 2010
12:00 AM

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines - It will now be a 10-cornered fight for the presidency in May as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday reinstated two aspirants in the official list of candidates.

The Comelec, in Resolution 8743, reconsidered the candidacy of independent Jesus Nicanor Perlas and Vetallano Acosta of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).

Perlas is a known environmentalist while Acosta describes himself as a financial consultant.

Acosta listed himself as an independent in his certificate of candidacy but was eventually absorbed by the KBL.

The two presidential aspirants filed a motion for reconsideration appealing Comelec Resolution 8713, which included them among the 91 presidential hopefuls who were disqualified.

The Comelec said Perlas and Acosta were disqualified for failing to show that they are capable of waging a nationwide campaign.

In a 26-page resolution, the Comelec said they were later “convinced” by Perlas that he has the “capacity to launch a nationwide campaign.”

The Comelec noted Perlas has a distinguished track record in public service and has received numerous recognitions for his advocacy even from abroad.

“Also, the manner by which (Perlas) presented his detailed platform of government and his active participation in several fora support his bona fide intention to run for president,” the Comelec said.

Acosta was also declared qualified since he had been nominated by the KBL.

“If the COC (certificate of candidacy) of KBL nominees for vice president and senators were given due course, there is no reason why this Commission should deny due course to Mr. Acosta’s COC,” the resolution said.

Perlas and Acosta will now slug it out with other political heavyweights that include Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Liberal Party (LP), Sen. Manny Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP), former President Joseph Estrada of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) under the United Opposition (UNO), Gilberto Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, Sen. Richard Gordon of Bagumbayan party, John Carlos delos Reyes of Ang Kapatiran; and independent Sen. Jamby Madrigal.

The Comelec said the resolution “is without prejudice to the outcome of the disqualification cases” filed against Aquino, Villar, Teodoro and Estrada.

Estrada still included

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body would not likely exclude Estrada from the list of presidential candidates even with a ruling on the former president’s disqualification case.

Sarmiento said the Comelec is expected to come up with a ruling on the disqualification case against Estrada anytime next week or days before the printing of ballots.

“We will have our ruling on the disqualification case out by next week, but we also expect the case to be elevated before the Supreme Court due to constitutional issues,” Sarmiento explained.

“Since the case would still be pending before the High Court by the time of the printing of ballots, we have to include the name of Mr. Estrada in the list of presidential candidates,” Sarmiento added.

Sarmiento pointed out the Comelec cannot exclude Estrada from the list since it might preclude any decision from the Supreme Court.

According to Sarmiento, the Comelec must come out with the list of candidates in the coming elections before the Jan. 25 deadline for the printing of official ballots.

Due to poll automation, Sarmiento said, the Comelec is now required to print all the names of the candidates on the ballots.

The printing of the names of candidates on the ballots is now causing difficulty for the Comelec, particularly in the matter of substitution of candidates, Sarmiento said.

Under the substitution law, an official candidate for national and local positions can be replaced by another member of his or her family in case of death, disqualification and disability.

The replacement would just file a petition before the Comelec anytime until election day.

However, Sarmiento stressed that at this time, the law on substitution cannot be applied in the automated elections.

“There is a pending bill which provides that a vote for the substituted would be considered a vote for the substitute but this is yet to be passed,” Sarmiento pointed out.

Sarmiento urged Congress to pass the proposed measure to enable the poll body to resolve cases of substitution.

“We have so many cases of substitution in the past so we must have a new law on substitution for automated polls,” he said.

More senatorial candidates

Comelec said the vice-presidential candidates still stand at eight.

They are Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas of LP; Dominador Chipeco Jr. of Ang Kapatiran; former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando; Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay of PDP-Laban and UNO; Sen. Loren Legarda of Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC); actor Edu Manzano of Lakas-CMD-Kampi; broadcaster Jose Sonza of KBL; and former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Perfecto Yasay Jr.

On the other hand, the number of senatorial candidates increased to 62 after the Comelec reconsidered the candidacy of former Scout Ranger commander Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, former Cebu governor Emilio Mario Osmeña, Nanette Espinosa of KBL and Adz Nikabulin, a guest candidate of Bangon Pilipinas.

The resolution showed the national elective positions of president, vice president and senators now have a total of 277 candidates.

Comelec reconsidered Lim by allowing his nomination by the LP as its senatorial candidate.

The former Army general, currently detained after being implicated in the February 2006 coup attempt, stated in his COC that he was running as independent.

Lim supported the Comelec in its decision to include him in the senatorial candidates.

“I knew that entering into this fight would not be easy. I did not suffer any illusions that there would be no opposition to my candidacy. But I have laid my trust in the system and in the law, and on this day, we can see we have trusted well,” Lim said.

Comelec, however, upheld the disqualification of lawyers Oliver Lozano, Elly Velez Pamatong and former Manila congressman Mario Crespo also known as Mark Jimenez.

The Comelec rejected Lozano’s argument that the poll body has no authority to cancel his candidacy.

“He has not satisfactorily shown that he has a bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy had been filed. (Lozano) has also not shown, among others, that he is capable of waging a nationwide campaign, that he belongs to or has been nominated by any registered political party of national constituency,” the Comelec said.

The Comelec added it could not reconsider Pamatong since his credentials and the documents “were insufficient to show capability to pursue a presidential aspiration stand.”

In the case of Jimenez, Comelec said the former Manila congressman merely attached “numerous newspaper clippings attesting to his financial capacity in waging a nationwide campaign” in his appeal.

The Comelec said newspaper clippings “fail to impress” as “what campaigning requires is a definite political strategy and platforms as to ensure nationwide name retention.”

The disqualified bets have five days to question the Comelec ruling before the Supreme Court. - With Mayen Jaymalin, Aurea Calica

Original Story:

List of 144 partylists accredited for May polls
First Posted 14:28:00 01/15/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Politics

Original Story:

1. 1-AANI
2. 1-Aangat Pilipino (1-AK)
3. 1ST Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy (1-CARE)
4. 1-Ako Babaing Astig Aasenso (1-ABAA)
5. 1Guardians Nationalist of the Philippines
6. 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang Sangkatauhan (1st KABAGIS)
7. A Blessed Federation of Farmers and Fishermen International inc. (A BLESSED)
8. Aangat Tayo (AT)
9. Abakada Guro (ABAKADA)
10. Abang Lingkod
11. Abante Ilonggo
12. Abante Katutubo Inc. (ABANTE KA)
13. Abante Mindanao (ABAMIN)
14. Abante Tribung Makabayan (ATM)
15. Abono
16. Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamers (ABROAD)
17. Action for Democracy and Development for the Tribal People (ADD-TRIBAL)
18. Action for Dynamic Development (ADD)
19. Act Teachers
20. Action League of Indigenous Masses (ALIM)
21. Adhikain at Kilusan ng Ordinaryong Tao para sa Lupa, Pabahay, Hanapbuhay at Kaunlaran (AKO)
22. Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika (ADAM)
23. Adhikaing Alay ng Marino sa Sambayanan (ALON)
24. Adhikaing Tinataguyod ng Kooperatiba (ATING KOOP)
25. Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Throug Action Cooperation and Harmony Towards Education Reform (A TEACHER)
26. Advocates for Special Children and the Handicaed Movement (ASAHAN MO)
27. Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Right Alliance (A-IPRA)
28. Agbiag Timpuyog Ilokano (AGBIAG)
29. Agila Pwersa ng Nagkakaisang Magsasaka (AGILA)
30. Agila ng Katutubong Pilipino (AGILA)
31. Agri-Agra na Reporma para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas Movement (AGRI)
32. Agrarian Development Association (ADA)
33. Agricultural Section Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP)
34. Ahon Pinoy (AHON)
35. Akap Bata
36. Akbay Pinoy OFW-National (APOI)
37. Akbayan Citizens Action Party (AKBAYAN)
38. Ako Ayoko sa Bawal na Droga (AKO)
39. Ako Bicol Political Party (AKB)
40. Aksyon Magsasaka Partido Tinig ng Masa (AKMA-PTM)
41. Aksyon ng Mamamayang Nagkakaisa (AMANA)
42. Alagaan Natin Ating Kalusugan (ANAKALUSUGAN)
43. Alagad
44. Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation (ALAY BUHAY)
45. Alay sa Bayan ng malayang Propesyunal at Repormang Kalakal (ABAY PARAK)
46. Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement for Nation Progress (AAMA)
47. Alliance for Barangay Concerns Party (ABC)
48. Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD)
49. Alliance for Philippines Security Guards Cooperative (AFPSEGCO)
50. Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC)
51. Alliance for Association of Accredited Workers in the Water Sector (1-TUBIG formerly AAWAS)
52. Alliance for Bicolnon Party (ABP-BICOLNON)
53. Alliance for National Urban Poor Organizations Assembly (ANUPA)
54. Alliance for People's Organizations (APO)
55. Alliance of Regional Coalitions against People's Povery (ARCAPP)
56. Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE)
57. Alliance Transport Sector (ATS)
58. Alma sa Paghihikahos at Ignorasya (ALMA)
59. Alyansa ng Mamamayang Naghihirap (ALMANA)
60. Alyansa ng Media at Showbiz (AMS)
61. Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM)
62. Alyansa ng Bayanihan ng Magsasaka, manggagawang Bukid at Mangingisda (ABA)
63. An Waray
64. Anak Mindanao (AMIN)
65. Anak Pawis (AP)
66. Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI)
67. Ang Asosayon Sang Mangunguma Bisaya-Owa Mangunguman (AAMBIS-OWA)
68. Ang Galing Pinoy (AG)
69. Ang Laban ng Indigong Filipino (ALIF)
70. Ang Ladlad LGBT Party (ANG LADLAD)
71. Ang Mata'y Alagaan (AMA)
72. Ang Tao Muna at Bayan (A TAMBAY)
73. Angat Ating Kabuhayan Filipinas (ANAK)
74. Arts Business and Sciece Professionals (ABS)
75. Atong Paglaum
76. Asosasyon ng mga Maliliit na Negosyanteng Gumaganap (AMANG)
77. Association for Righteousness Advocacy in Leadership (ARAL)
78. Association of Laborers and Employess (ALE)
79. Association of Administrators and Professionals and Seniors (AAPS)
80. Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC)
81. Babae Para sa Kaunlaran (BABAE KA)
82. Bago National Cultural Society of the Philippines (BAGO)
83. Bagong Bayan na nagtataguyod ng Demokratikong Ideolohiya at Layunin (BANDILA)
84. Bagong Henerasyon (BH)
85. Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT)
86. Bayan Muna
87. Bayani
88. Batang Iwas sa Droga Foundation (BIDA)
89. Bigkis Pinoy Movement (BIGKIS)
90. Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka Para sa mga Magsasaka (BINHI)
91. Biyaheng Pinoy Labor Association (BIYAHENG PINOY)
92. Biyayang Bukid
93. Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (BUHAY)
94. Butil Farmers Party (BUTIL)
95. Champions for Innovative Employment (CHINOY)
96. Citizen Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC)
97. Citizen Power Movement (CPM)
98. Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Country (SENIOR CITIZENS)
99. Cocofed-Philippine Coconut Producers Federation (COCOFED)
100. Coconut Farmers Association of Linamon Lanao del Sur (COFA)
101. Confederation of Nonstock Savings and Loan Association (CONSLA)
102. Cooperative Natcco Network (COOP-NATCCO)
103. Democratic Independent Workers' Associaiton (DIWA)
104. Filipino Muslim Organization (FIL-MUS)
105. Firm 24-K Association (FIRM 24-K)
106. First People's Representative for Indigent Student Athletes (1ST PRISA)
107. Gabriella Women's Party list (GABRIELLA)
108. Green Force for the Environment Sons and Daughters of the Mother Earth
109. Itenerant Vendors Alliance of the Philippines (IVAP)
110. Kababaihang Lingkod Bayan sa Pilipinas (KLBP)
111. Kabalikat ng Mamamayan (KABAYAN)
112. Kabataan party list
113. Kabukluran ng mga Kababaihang Filipina sa Timog Katagalugan (BUKLOD FILIPINA)
114. Kalahi Sectoral Party (KALAHI)
115. Kalinga Advocacy for Social Empowerment and Nation-Building Through Easing Poverty (KALINGA)
116. Kapatiran ng mga Nakakulong na Walang Sala (KAKUSA)
117. Kasangga sa Kaunlaran (ANG KASANGGA)
118. Kasosyo Producer-Consumer Exchange Association (AA-KASOSYO PARTY)
119. Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan All Filipino Democratic Movement (KAAKBAY)
120. Katribu Indigenous Peoples' Sectoral Party (KATRIBU)
121. Kaunlaran ng Agrikultura Asensadong Bayan Probinsiya Angat ng Bayan (KAAGAPAY)
122. Koalisyon ng Katutubong Samahan ng Philipinas (KASAPI)
123. One Advocacy for Health Progress and Opportunity (1-AHAPO)
124. Organization of Regional Advocates for Good Governance Onward Nation Building (ORAGON)
125. Pamilyang OFW-SME Network Foundation (OPO)
126. Parents Enabling Parents Coalition (PEP)
127. Partido Katutubong Pilipino (KATUTUBO)
128. Partido Manggagawa (PM)
129. Pilipimo Association for Country – Urban Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW)
130. Pro-active in Climate Change Leaders (PCL)
131. Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PCL)
132. Social Movement for Active Reform and Transparency (SMART)
133. Sulong Barangay Movement (SB)
134. The True Marcos Loyalist (For God, Country and People) Association of the Phils (BANTAY)
135. Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)
136. Una ang Pamilya (1 ANG PAMILYA), which is formerly Alliance of Neo-Conservatives (ANC)
137. United Movement Against Drugs Foundation (UNI-MAD)
138. United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK)
139. Vendors and Traders of the Philippines
140. Veterans Freedom Party (VFP)
141. Women Power (WPI)
142. Yes We Can
143. You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP)
144. Youth Leagues for Peace Advancement (LYPAD)

Anna Valmero

Original Story: